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Agronomy Journal Abstract - Soil Fertility & Crop Nutrition

Effects of Sulfur Application Rates and Foliar Zinc Fertilization on Cotton Lint Yields and Quality


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 103 No. 6, p. 1794-1803
    Received: May 29, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): xyin2@utk.edu
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  1. Xinhua Yin *a,
  2. Owen Gwathmeya,
  3. Christopher Maina and
  4. Amy Johnsonb
  1. a Dep. of Plant Sciences, The Univ. of Tennessee, 605 Airways Blvd., Jackson, TN 38301
    b Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, The Univ. of Tennessee, 2506 E.J. Champan Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996


Sulfur deficiencies have increasingly occurred in crops due to declined use of S-bearing fertilizers and reduced atmospheric S deposition. A field trial was conducted on an S- and Zn-deficient soil at Jackson, TN in 2007–2010, to evaluate cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) yield and fiber quality responses to S and Zn applications. Sulfur treatments of 0, 11, 22, and 34 kg S ha−1 were broadcast before planting. Zinc treatments of 0 and 0.29 kg Zn ha−1 were foliar applied at matchhead square. Soil S levels were increased by applying 34 kg S ha−1 in 3 out of 4 yr. Leaf S concentrations were increased by S applications. Application of 22 or 34 kg S ha−1 increased lint yields by 8 to 9% and micronaire by 4 to 5% averaged over the three normal growing seasons (2008–2010). Foliar Zn treatments had no significant effect on leaf Zn levels or lint yields and quality. A container-grown cotton trial was also conducted to study effects of S deficiency on yield components. Plants were fed nutrient solutions with high or low S concentrations. The low S treatment reduced leaf S concentration but tended to increase leaf concentrations of other nutrients. Seedcotton per plant was reduced by S deficiency in 3 of 4 yr, with fewer bolls per plant and fewer locules per boll. Results indicate that application of 22 to 34 kg S ha−1 may be beneficial for no-till cotton on soils testing low for S in Tennessee and similar environments.

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